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Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was ceremoniously sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday morning, marking a monumental step to becoming the first Native American to ever lead a Cabinet agency.

“Congratulations, Madam Secretary,” Harris said after the oath of office was given. “History is being made, yet again.”

The two-minute event took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building where Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblos, placed her hand on a bible held by her daughter Somah.

Oath of Office: 
“I, [name], do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I'm about to enter, so help me God

Like many big events in Indian Country, Haaland used the occasion to wear white moccasins and a colorful blue ribbon skirt adorned with corn and butterfly designs. She also wore a turquoise necklace with a pendant of the Zia symbol, representing her home state of New Mexico.

"Ribbonskirt was made by me," Agnes Woodward commented in a social media post hours after Haaland's swearing in ceremony. She also posed for a picture holding her creation.

Haaland was surrounded by her family, including her partner Lloyd Sayre, daughter Somah Haaland, sisters Zoe Magee and Denise Kirksey and friend Scott Forrester and Julia Jarrard who is a friend, partner of Forrester, according to White House pool reports.

Somah rallied supporters wanting to tune into the event by live-streaming it on her Instagram page. More than 750 tuned in at the height of the ceremony.

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“Crying all over again,” some supporters commented. Others said, “What an honor to watch this. Thank you.”

WATCH: Somah Haaland's Instagram story featuring behind-the-scenes moments

The backdrop of the event included two U.S. flags and two of the vice president’s flags. The room included sea green walls painted with floral designs and intricate patterns in red, blue and gilt paint.

(Related: Secretary Deb Haaland’s first day)

On Tuesday, Haaland was sworn into office in a private, small ceremony with her family, the Interior Department announced. Her first official day was Wednesday.

It is common practice to have two swearing-in ceremonies.

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at

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3/18: This story was updated to include additional social media posts from Vice President Harris and the Interior Department